Coastguard

Elite rowing crew rescued by coastguard after being hit by extreme weather off the coast of Scotland

An elite rowing crew on a charity mission had to be rescued by the coastguard after being hit by extreme weather off the coast of Scotland.

The team were competing in the GB Row Challenge when they got into trouble near Mull of Kintyre, Argyll in the early hours of Monday morning.

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The Sea Legs team boat is towed to CampbeltownCredit: Chris Richardson
The rowing crew, attempting to circumnavigate Britain as part of the GB Row Challenge, struggled off Mull of Kintyre

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The rowing crew, attempting to circumnavigate Britain as part of the GB Row Challenge, struggled off Mull of KintyreCredit: Chris Richardson

A Prestwick helicopter and lifeboats were dispatched after the alarm sounded at 12.30pm.

All five crew members were safely evacuated from the vessel.

The group, called ‘Team Sea Legs’, were attempting to row 2,000 miles around the UK coast, a challenge dubbed ‘the toughest rowing challenge in the world’.

On Tuesday afternoon, the team’s Challenger vessel was towed safely to the port of Campbeltown, Argyll.

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The crew had been rescued twice by the Coastguard and the RNLI during their arduous journey.

On Sunday they were brought ashore after getting into trouble in the Irish Sea.

Having rowed 800 miles after setting off from Tower Bridge in London three weeks ago, the team have now retired from the grueling race.

The team said they were hampered by “an extended period of intense and unforeseen weather conditions”.

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A statement from the Sea Legs team read: “Having been rescued twice by the Coastguard in conjunction with the RNLI, we have made the difficult decision that the Sea Legs team is now withdrawing from this year’s GB Row Challenge.

“Safety should always be our top priority. After enduring an extended period of intense and unforeseen weather conditions, it seems the time has come for the Sea Legs team to retire from what is, without a doubt, the toughest rowing challenge in the world.

“We would like to thank the Sea Legs crew for their hard work and dedication, not only during the event itself, but also during the months of training and qualifying that preceded their departure from Tower. Bridge in London three weeks ago The crew complete their challenge in safe harbor at Campbeltown after rowing over 800 miles.

“After discussion, it was decided that the Albatross team would set sail from Wick in Scotland and continue to Tower Bridge. The team will continue to collect scientific data to understand the impact of human activity on ecosystems mariners and climate change.

A Coastguard spokesperson said: “HM Coastguard received a Mayday alert from the vessel GB Row Challenger on Monday (04 July) at 00.30. The call arrived at the Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Center as the crew struggled in adverse weather conditions west of Mull of Kintyre.

“All five crew on board were rescued by the Prestwick Coastguard helicopter. The Campbeltown Coastguard rescue team and RNLI lifeboats from Redbay and Campbeltown were also dispatched.

“The vessel was left anchored in place before being collected by the owners and taken to Campbeltown on Tuesday afternoon July 5th.”

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Lifeboat operations manager George Bradley said: ‘We are very pleased with the outcome of this Mayday distress call. All five lives were saved and it could have been a very different outcome had the rowers not taken the roll call when they did.

“Everyone who uses water, whether for work or pleasure, should have a way to call for help. It can be a VHF or a cell phone in a waterproof pouch. Make sure it has enough battery as it could save your life and the lives of others one day.

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